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workingpaper3 - 1 Center for Globalization and Policy...

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Center for Globalization and Policy Research, School of Public Policy and Social Research, UCLA. Working Paper No 3, 2001 THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMY: TIME-SPACE COMPRESSION, GEOPOLITICS, AND GLOBAL UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT John Agnew Professor and Chair of Geography University of California, Los Angeles Lecture presented at the Center for Globalization and Policy Research, UCLA Wednesday, April 18, 2001 Two ideas have dominated discussion in recent studies of the social and political impacts of globalization by those who think that globalization had had real effects and is not simply a synonym for the neo-liberal policies instituted by many national governments beginning in the 1980s. The first is the idea that everywhere in the world is becoming alike economically and culturally. This is a scaling up from the national to a global scale of the old idea of “modernization.” From this perspective, common global norms about conduct, consumption standards, and cultural practices are spreading everywhere. This global modernization is often seen as dependent on the working of a second idea. This is that current globalization is about the shrinking of the world because of revolutionary changes in communication and transportation technologies. In the long-term this process of “time-space compression” will produce greater similarities across places but immediately this need not be the case. Rather, differences between places may in fact intensify as involvement in a world of flows makes the characteristics of this or that place more competitive globally. In the end, however, different places will establish niches for themselves within the global economy, even if there is dislocation in the short- term. In this paper I want to challenge the adequacy of these ideas for understanding the course of the contemporary world economy, the new uneven development that it is producing, and the political reactions to this. In their place I argue for the importance of the geopolitical role of the United States and the vision of world economic order, or transnational liberalism , that post-World War II US governments have actively sponsored, both unilaterally and multilaterally, in the emergence of the new global economy and its geographical structure. In this perspective, technological changes and the values associated with them have been enabling and encouraging, rather than determining in and of themselves, and common outcomes with respect to global norms, etc., are far from likely in a world still exhibiting large geographical differences in levels of economic development. In other words, the new global economy did not simply spring out of technological changes powered by business imperatives and justified by a logic of neo-liberal economics that have subsequently produced an increasingly homogenized world.
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workingpaper3 - 1 Center for Globalization and Policy...

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